Y Tangnefeddwyr - Span Arts
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Y Tangnefeddwyr

On Sunday 3rd October the project Cân y Ffordd Euraidd is inviting singers to join a ‘scratch’ choir or Côr Unnos to sing and record a version of the song Y Tangnefeddwyr (the peacemakers) – a setting of Waldo Williams’ well known poem.  The choir leader for this unique event will be Rhian Medi Jones and the accompanist  Rhidian Evans.

The event is being recorded for the project which has been taking place over the Summer, Cân y Ffordd Euraidd  / The Song of the Golden Road which has been building a creative response to the heritage of the Preseli Heartlands, from Crymych to Cwm Gwaun, with the intention to create a ‘radio ballad’ a weaving of voice, sound and song.  The ballad will be an oral record of a unique place for future generations to enjoy.

The Golden Road is the name given to the ancient trackway which crosses the seven mile ridge of the Preseli Mountains from Foel Drygarn to Bwlch Gwynt.  The project up until now has taken the form of a series of workshops and walks in the communities that live at the foot of the Preseli mountains.  The workshops consisted of talks from local invited experts and opportunities to exchange stories and record sound and conversations.

The work and legacy of the Welsh language poet Waldo Williams has been unmissable as the project workshops have taken place in the area.  Waldo wrote the poem Y Tangnefeddwyr during the second world war.  He recalls the care his parents showed for him as he is witness to a night of bombing in Swansea, seeing the city in flames from the distance of the Preselis.  The poem is a plea for peace by the poet who was also a Quaker who gave his gift for poerty in service to the campaign to keep the Preseli hills themselves free from military presence in the aftermath of the war.

The idea of bringing a choir together to record Y Tangnefeddwyr for inclusion in the ballad came about after the radio producer Paul Evans joined the project and started listening to the content already recorded in order to start the ballad edit.  Paul is an award winning producer of programmes and has worked for BBC Cymru and BBC Wales with a particular track record of music documentary features.

Diwrnod Waldo, a celebration of the poet’s life and work, is held annually on the 30th September and the scratch choir event will take place on the following Sunday.  The scratch choir Côr y Cewri will meet on Sunday 3rd October at 2pm at the Oak Hall, Rhos-y-Gilwen.  The afternoon will be spent learning the song and then the song will be recorded.  The event will finish at about 6pm.  Light refreshments will be available during the afternoon.

The event is open to all but we would particularly like to include singers based in the Preseli area or with a connection to this place. Anyone taking part must book their place beforehand in order to ensure that we can run the event safely.  If you would like to take part please contact Rowan O’Neill,  Community Producer working with Span Arts rowan@span-arts.org.uk to book your place and obtain a copy of the music.

The setting of Y Tangnefeddwyr was written by Eric Jones for the St Davids Eisteddfod in 2002.  Practice tracks of the different parts (SATB) will also be available.

Cân y Ffordd Euraidd / Song of the Golden Road is being run by Span Arts in partnership with PLANED and Menter Iaith Sir Benfro and is part of the National Lottery Heritage funded Preseli Heartlands project.  The final ballad will be broadcast at a listening party at Tafarn Sinc in November and will also be available online.

Rhian Medi and Wyn Owens share their memories of Waldo Williams in a workshop at Mynachlog Ddu

The Waldo Williams Memorial Stone